Movie Review – Boo 2: A Madea Halloween

Boo 2: A Madea Halloween (2017)
Written & Directed by Tyler Perry

Boo 2 was released the very next Halloween after the previous entry. It makes sense from a money perspective; the first film made $54.8 million. Boo 2 would not be as financially successful, making around $20 million when it finally left theaters. There’s very little to be found about the production of these movies because they are basically glorified sitcoms or YouTuber movies. That’s one element I didn’t discuss in my previous review, but for the Boo films, Perry has chosen to employ several YouTube celebrities. I guess these people are not members of SAG-AFTRA, and thus he can violate labor laws for actors by having them in prominent roles in his movies. Perry is on record for firing four writers who attempted to unionize in the late 2000s, and there was controversy around his decision to hire five non-union actors for his most recent production. 

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Movie Review – Tyler Perry’s Boo: A Madea Halloween

Tyler Perry’s Boo: A Madea Halloween (2016)
Written & Directed by Tyler Perry

In January 2020, while Tyler Perry was on his Madea Farewell Tour stage play performances, he talked very openly about his relationship with the character. When asked if he would miss playing Madea, Perry responded flatly, “Nope.” He went on to explain he never enjoyed playing Madea and that the costume & wig were uncomfortable. Perry would connect the success he saw Eddie Murphy having by assuming the roles of multiple characters and decided to lean into that too. Perry would admit that playing Madea created a $2 billion media empire but still hated the character. In June 2021, Perry & Netflix announced Madea would be returning to a film on their streaming platform. 

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Movie Review – A Madea Christmas

A Madea Christmas (2013)
Written & Directed by Tyler Perry

There are three distinct phases to the Madeaverse that I’ve noticed. From Diary of a Mad Black Woman through Madea’s Big Happy Family, these are mostly stage adaptations featuring predominantly Black casts. Beyond Tyler Perry, there may be one or two “major” Black actors in the production. For instance, Blair Underwood in Madea’s Family Reunion or Angela Bassett in Meet the Browns. Previous to this film was Madea’s Witness Protection, one of the series’s three most financially successful pictures; a budget of $20 million turned into $67 million in box office returns. That film incorporated more white actors (Eugene Levy, Denise Richards, Doris Roberts), which led to the following strange & short era with A Madea Christmas. This was when Perry tried to make movies that would also appeal to white people.

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Movie Review – Madea’s Big Happy Family

Madea’s Big Happy Family (2011)
Written & Directed by Tyler Perry

This is my personal favorite of all the Madea films we watched. It’s all the elements coming together to make what feels like a genuine feature comedy. While it was based on a stage play produced the previous year, Big Happy Family is presented more as a film. It has the highest budget to date of any Madea film at $25 million though it would make considerably less at the box office than the previous entry, Madea Goes to Jail. Here we have Madea at her most animated, doing both physical comedy and some amusing improvised scenes as Tyler Perry brings in Mr. Brown & Cora and introduces Aunt Bam into the mix.

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Movie Review – Meet the Browns

Meet the Browns (2008)
Written by Tyler Perry and Reuben Cannon
Directed by Tyler Perry

By 2008, Tyler Perry had directed four films following the financial success of Diary of Mad Black Woman. That film was number 1 at the box office on its opening weekend and would make $50.7 million worldwide. This propelled the money machine that has been going ever since, though it has slowed a bit in recent years. I chose Meet the Browns as my next film for a couple reasons. The first was that it introduces Mr. Brown and his daughter Cora who are important to the next movie in the series. The second is that Madea’s role is a cameo but communicates some wild new ideas about her that weren’t present in Diary. The plot is also very much in line with the critique from The Boondocks of colorism in Perry’s work. 

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Movie Review – The Diary of a Mad Black Woman

The Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)
Written by Tyler Perry
Directed by Darren Grant

Tyler Perry is one of the most commercially successful Black filmmakers in American history. That is a fact that we cannot deny. His personal net worth exceeds $800 million; that metric means a lot in America. What about Perry’s films has profoundly affected movies in the United States? What draws audiences to his work? I want to explore that, as well as the controversy surrounding him and his divisive Madea character. We’re going to unpack Perry’s ideology and see how the nature of Madea interacts with that. We won’t be watching every Madea film, but we will watch many of them. I credit the lovely May Leitz and her excellent tier list of Madea movies for inspiring this series.

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Patron Pick – Motivational Growth

This is a special reward available to Patreon patrons who pledge at the $10 or $20 a month levels. Each month those patrons will pick a film for me to review. They also get to include some of their own thoughts about the movie, if they choose. This Pick comes from Bekah Lindstrom.

Motivational Growth (2013)
Written & Directed by Don Thacker

American independent film is a complicated industry that’s been through many transformations since movies were invented. The late 1990s to the mid-2010s were a Golden Age at the start but eventually became a time of diminishing returns. The 20th century ended with so much promise, especially with the advent of digital cameras, but by 2015 movies were being churned out that lacked a lot. Motivational Growth is one of those American indie flicks with an interesting premise, but the execution is ruined by a filmmaker who believes he’s cleverer than he actually is. He’s completely unsure of the tone, so the movie veers from body horror to dark comedy, back and forth again and again.

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TV Review – Kids in the Hall (2022)

Kids in the Hall (Amazon Prime)
Written by Garry Campbell & Dave Foley & Bruce McCulloch & Kevin McDonald & Mark McKinney & Scott Thompson & Jennifer Goodhue & Matt Watts, and Julie Klausner
Directed by Aleysa Young & Kelly Makin

I was a nerdy kid. I’m sure that really surprises you. Because I was living in the middle of nowhere in the middle of a two adults’ very dysfunctional marriage, I found solace in odd things. The TV Guide Fall Preview issue was always a highlight, teasing all the fantastic things I’d be able to watch soon. In 1993, when I was 12 years old, I remember coming across a description of a show that was going to air late night on Fridays on CBS. It was called Kids in the Hall, and the description said Lorne Michaels, the producer of Saturday Night Live, was making it. 1993 was around the time I started watching SNL religiously, so I was excited. Unfortunately, I grew up in the Southeastern United States, and I genuinely think our local CBS affiliate chose not to air KITH because it was a very transgressive show that didn’t hide its countercultural take. It wouldn’t be until 1999, during my freshman year of college, that I finally got to see the Kids for the first time as they were rerun constantly on Comedy Central.

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TV Review – The Pentaverate

The Pentaverate (Netflix)
Written by Mike Myers & Roger Drew & Ed Dyson
Directed by Tim Kirkby

In the 2000s, Mike Myers was one of the biggest comedy stars in the world. Just Shrek alone made him rich, but add onto that the Austin Powers franchise and the enduring love for earlier projects like Wayne’s World and So I Married An Axe Murderer. Then The Love Guru came along and like magic it was all over. Audiences cringed at that picture and he hasn’t made a big splash since. Until now that is, with his Netflix series The Pentaverate. I watched this entire show for one big reason, I wanted to see just how bad Myers had become and I had no idea just how terrible it would be. This is one of the worst self-indulgent pieces of media I have seen in a very long time.

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Movie Review – Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022)
Written by Dan Gregor and Doug Mand
Directed by Akiva Schaffer

So much nostalgia that you feel like you’re going to vomit; this is what American mainstream media feels like these days. Every week, another intellectual property is rebooted, remade, sequel-ized, etc. Most of it is complete garbage. Nostalgia is a type of feeling that appeals to very regressive, reactionary, infantile minds. People are reasonably on edge because Western civilization seems to have reached its zenith and is now in a spiral of decline. The Boomers were the first generation that began to dominate with nostalgia; we saw multiple television series from their childhood made into feature films. Nothing has rivaled the Millennials’ slavering thirst to relieve every Saturday Morning Cartoon and blockbuster movie they saw growing up. So it was only a matter of time until Chip ‘n Dale saw this treatment, shaped by the cynical nature of animated comedy.

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